Today's Top Alzheimer's News
The latest research linking the APOE gene to brain health, scientists grow 3D brain tissue that could help treatments for Alzheimer's, and the need for increased minority and female participation in clinical trials (read more).
- An August 11, 2014 The New York Times Well blog post reported on the latest research into how the APOE gene impacts brain health. According to the article, "“This particular case tells us you can actually live without any APOE in the brain,” said Dr. Joachim Herz, a neuroscientist and molecular geneticist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. “So if they were to develop anti-APOE therapies for Alzheimer’s, we would not have to worry about serious neurological side effects.”…The APOE gene has several forms, and one of them, the APOE4 variant, is the biggest known genetic risk factor for the most common form of Alzheimer’s. People with one copy of APOE4, about 20 percent of the population, have up to five times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, compared to people without that variant, and they develop the disease earlier."
- An August 11, 2014 The Telegraph article reported that "Scientists have grown 3D brain tissue in the lab for the first time in a breakthrough which could speed up finding a cure for dementia or treating brain trauma and disorders." According to the article, "In a development described as an ‘exceptional feat’, researchers in the US have created tissue which contains white and grey matter and has the same chemical and electrical functions as a human brain. Scientists will now be able to use the engineered brains to discover how diseases and trauma can be reversed through drugs. It could speed up treatments for neurodegenerative conditions like dementia or stroke and offer insights into how to fix damaged areas after head injuries…Scientists discovered that by using a doughnut shaped scaffold and a special gel to encourage growth they could encourage rat neurons to form into complex brain tissue."
- An August 11, 2014 AutoStraddle article reported on the the lack of female and minority representation in clinical trials. According to the article, "Even for diseases which disproportionately affect women (such as lung cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and depression), the only available medical treatments have largely been tested on men. For example, even though lung cancer is the top cause of cancer deaths among women and women now account for almost half of new cases and deaths, only 32% of lung cancer trial patients are women. And even though African Americans smoke less, they develop lung cancer at higher rates than white people — yet still represent less than 2% of lung cancer trial participants."
- An August 12, 2014 Health News Florida opinion piece by David Lubin highlighted the 21st Center Cures roundtable discussions taking place in Florida this week. According to Lubin, "The purpose of these 21st Center Cures roundtable discussion is to try and see what can be done to get drugs that treat severely debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s to market to benefit patients suffering these maladies…We need to make medications more affordable for all diseases across the board. If a doctor feels a brand name is what is needed, then somehow, make it affordable. Make the pharmaceutical companies negotiate with all the insurance companies to bring down the prices the patient must pay, even for a brand name rather than a generic. Aren’t a few prescriptions less expensive to pay for than a week in the hospital?Make no mistake about it; you can have all the bipartisan roundtable discussions you want. We aren't going to change anything. Insurance companies and Big Pharma continue to rule medicine." Dr. David Lubin recently retired after 37 years of family practice, but remains Editor of the Hillsborough County Medical Association's The Bullletin.
- An August 10, 2014 The Jewish Daily Forward article reported on the "Jewish approach to treating Alzheimer's disease." According to the article, "On a recent July afternoon, a group of residents at the Hebrew Home of Riverdale, New York congregated on a shady terrace. They were sitting in a semicircle facing Deborah Michaels, the instructor leading the yoga class. “Okay now we’re going to lift our hands up,” Michaels said. The participants raised their arms, some more than others. “And gently back down.” Michaels continued running through the basics of a yoga class, modified to be done while seated, for another half-hour. Yoga classes run twice per week, and are part of a larger strategy at the Hebrew Home to use alternative techniques in treating residents in their memory care unit."